Copter Unit's Chief Removed

Associated Press

The commander of an Apache helicopter battalion has been relieved after he mistakenly fired on two U.S. armored vehicles, killing two American soldiers, it was reported Thursday.

Officers in the division said that Army Lt. Col. Ralph Hayles, of Corpus Christi, Tex., violated division guidelines that commanding officers are not to personally engage enemy forces.

The two soldiers were killed Sunday while a division task force was conducting screening operations just inside the Iraqi border and was attacked by an armored column. U.S. troops returned fire with TOW missiles and artillery, then called in the Apaches for support.

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